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FIRST PRE-SEASON DEFEAT AGAINST WSG TIROL

The Boys in Brown suffered their first defeat in four pre-season friendlies on Wednesday afternoon, going down 3-2 to newly promoted Austrian Bundesliga outfit WSG Swarovski Tirol. Cenk Sahin equalised moments after Zlatko Dedic had given WSG a 17th minute lead, only for Dedic and David Gugganig to give the Austrian side a 3-1 half-time advantage. Christopher Buchtmann pulled one back on 55 but Jos Luhukay's side were unable to find an equaliser despite several excellent chances in the closing stages.

Head coach Jos Luhukay opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Kevin Lankford as the lone striker. After a bright start by both teams, WSG fashioned the opening chance in the sixth minute when Sebastian Santin fired just wide following an attack down the left-hand side. At the other end, Cenk Sahin dragged a shot well off target from a corner two minutes later.

Kelvin Yeboah then directed a shot narrowly wide of the right-hand post from close range on 16, but Zlatko Dedic was more accurate 60 seconds later, capitalising on a defensive error to beat Svend Brodersen from the edge of the box. The response was not long in coming. Almost immediately, Cenk Sahin restored parity with a neat volley past the onrushing Ferdinand Oswald following a long ball in behind the back four from Jakob Bednarczyk.

Seven minutes later, WSG were awarded a penalty when Bednarczyk crossed paths with Lukas Grgic. Benjamin Pranter stepped up but was denied by Brodersen, who dived low to his left to palm the ball away. There was nothing the keeper could do 11 minutes later, however, when Dedic finished off a quick break down the left from close range. The Austrians extended their lead soon after, Santin netting on the rebound to make it 3-1. Ryo Miyaichi had a shot from just outside the box saved by Oswald before Ersin Zehir headed inches wide from a fine Bednarczyk cross on the stroke of half-time.

Luhukay made seven changes at the interval and his new-look team stepped up the pressure without creating any meaningful chances. Seung-won Lee drove a half-clearance well over the top from range, but Christopher Buchtmann went one better three minutes later following a decent attack down the left. Daniel Buballa fed Christian Conteh, who cut the ball back into the middle for Buchtmann to sweep a shot into the roof of the net.

A few minutes later Lee tried his luck again from distance and this time went much closer. WSG coach Thomas Silberberger then replaced almost his entire team, and Luhukay also made four changes. The flow of the game suffered a little as a result, with neither side able to penetrate the opposition penalty area for some time. On 77, a smart turn of speed from Conteh down the inside-left channel created a decent opening, but the winger was denied by a good stop from Oswald.

At the other end, youth keeper Leon Schmidt did well to keep out a close-range effort from Milan Jurdik. Luhukay's side threw everything at it in the closing stages, including centre-back Christopher Avevor, who operated as a striker alongside Dimitrios Diamantakos from the 85th minute. Avevor initiated a double chance soon after with a pass to Sobota, who crossed to the unmarked Diamantakos. His header came off the back of a defender and fell to Conteh, whose shot from six metres was somehow bundled off the line. That was to prove the last opportunity and the game ended in a 3-2 defeat.

Speaking after the game, Jos Luhukay said: "It was a game of two halves. Not only did our opponents get the goals, we also gave away chances too easily. In the second half our play was better. We could have had another goal. Overall, it was a good run-out that has given us more insights in addition to those gained during training."

 

Lineup

1st half: Brodersen - Bednarczyk, Carstens, Hornschuh, Park - Zehir, Hoffmann - Miyaichi, Buchtmann, Sahin - Lankford

2nd half: Schmidt - Kalla, Avevor, Hornschuh (Knoll 63'), Buballa - Lee - Miyaichi (Loubongo M'Boungou 63'), Sobota, Buchtmann (Coordes 63'), Conteh - Lankford (Diamantakos 63')

 

Goals: 1-0 Dedic (17'), 1-1 Sahin (18'), 2-1 Dedic (36'), 3-1 Gugganig (39'), 3-2 Buchtmann (55')

Photos: Witters

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